Vitamin B12 - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B 12 is one of the vitamins from the B vitamin family. It holds an important role in the production of red blood cells and nerve function. Vitamin B12 is classified as a “water-soluble vitamin” because it is easily dissolved in the water. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the presence of folic acid which is why folic acid is always suggested with vitamin B12. Many supplements are available on the market to intake vitamin B12 and keep the body healthy. The source of vitamin B12 can be plant-based or animal-based. Vitamin B12 is scarce in vegetable meals including vegetables, grains, and legumes, but it can be obtained in large quantities from a range of animal foods. Furthermore, some seaweeds contain vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is absorbed in two phases by the body from diet. Stomach acid removes vitamin B12 from protein in meals, and then a protein generated in the stomach called intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12 and is absorbed by the body. In other words, patients with pernicious anaemia, a disorder in which the body is unable to produce intrinsic factors, have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from food and supplements.

  • Latin Name- The Latin name of VItamin B12 is cobalamin and complex B vitamins.
  • Family- Vitamin B12 belongs to the Vitamin B family. 

History of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 was discovered in 1927. In 1926, one study by the scientist found that liver therapy is effective in human anaemia. Later, it provided a clue to the discovery of vitamin B12. Later in 1974, Folker and their team produced a red and bright vitamin hat they found in liver therapy. They named it cobalamin, which is used to cure anaemia, especially in humans. It is noted that cobalamin is highly found in animals.

Vitamin B12 Function in the Body?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in amino acid metabolism, nucleic acid metabolism and folic acid metabolism. Vitamin B12 in food is bound to protein, and when protein is denatured and decomposed in the stomach, it becomes free of vitamin B12. It acts as a coenzyme, a support enzyme function. Vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin, particularly it helps in the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. In addition, it is a nutrient that is also useful to maintain the normal function and development of the body tissues, especially for the normal red blood cells production, nerve cells and blood cells. Vitamin B12 works with folic acid which helps to increase the haemoglobin in red blood cells. Basically, vitamin B12 contains the same red colour substance as red blood cells. It is a nutritional diet that everyone should add to their diet. It helps to increase the formation of red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 Benefits (Vitamin D3 Uses)

The use of vitamins and minerals provides various benefits to the body. Let's check out the benefits of vitamin B12. 

  1. Cell Formation: Vitamin B12 is the most important nutrient that supports the formation and repair of cells like it duplicates and maintenance of red blood cells. Vitamins support the formation of DNA in the body. Vitamin B12 is also responsible for the cell level. It supports the cells of the nervous system and red blood cells.
  2. Improve Anaemia: Vitamin B12 is important to overcome the anaemia from the simplest to the complex anaemia problem. It prevents megaloblastic anaemia and protects the red blood cells in the body. To overcome the anaemia problem quickly, it is always suggested to have vitamin B12 supplements with iron. They together project and increase the formation of red blood cells and help to improve anaemia.
  3. Protect Nervous System- Vitamin B12 influences the health and dynamics of the nervous system. It supports the correct myelination of neurons. As per one of the studies, it is also noted that Alzheimer's patients also lack vitamin B12. Well, it is not proven, but somewhere vitamin B12 affects the nervous system. The function of memory, concentration etc may be improved with the vitamin B12 supplement.
  4. Endurance And Energy: As vitamin B12 is linked to the formation of red blood cells, it adds to its functions in metabolism to relieve or prevent feelings of fatigue. Vitamin B12 is correct red blood cells help the body to work well by a necessary amount of energy. It provides a feeling of energy and vitality, suitable to withstand great physical or mental efforts, as well as stress and pressure in a general way.
  5. Support Heart Health: Vitamin B12 is effective to maintain the low cholesterol level in the body, hence it is good for better heart health. It significantly reduces high blood pressure, and bad cholesterol and increases the better blood circulation system. It lowers the HDL cholesterol and supports a low cholesterol in the body
  6. Beauty: Due to cell reproduction and healthy red blood cells, vitamin B12 is used to stimulate the constant renewal of skin, hair and nails cells. Vitamin B12 supports healthier and better-looking tissues as well as it is also good for rapid cell recovery.
  7. Effective In Weight Loss: Vitamin B12 is capable of increasing the metabolism in the body and increasing energy levels. Hence, it is effective for weight loss. It is said that a high dose of Vitamin B12 gives intense and rapid weight loss.
  8. Support Male fertility: Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin is also useful to increase the number of sperm in semen. Low sperm count is one of the most common causes of male infertility, which can be remedied in many cases by balancing vitamin B12 levels.
  9. Muscle Mass Gain: People who are looking to gain muscle mass, cobalamin or vitamin B12 may be effective. The effects of vitamin B12 on the nervous system make the connection between the nervous system and the muscles more efficient, resulting in better muscular contraction motions and higher-quality training. Furthermore, proper glucose metabolism ensures the availability of energy to the muscles, making physical exercise even more effective.
  10. Prevent Birth Defects: Vitamin B12 is good for pregnant women. It is helpful for the foetus brain and growth. It prevents major birth defects and gives a healthy pregnancy to the women. Vitamin B12 is always a nutritional supplement offered by the doctor to a pregnant lady.

Vitamin B12 Symptoms

Like other nutrients, the lack of Vitamin B12 also affects the body. Here are the vitamin B12 symptoms that you can notice and prevent your body from serious problems. Vitamin B12, in particular, plays an important role in making blood. So it is well known that deficiency can lead to anaemia. Let's known about it in details-

  • Anaemia- Anaemia is a situation when there is a lack of red blood cells in the body. Lack of vitamin B12 is the main reason for anaemia. Vitamin B12 is linked with "megaloblastic anaemia". The absence of anaemia stops the formation of the outer structure of the red blood cells. Megaloblastic anaemia causes symptoms of anaemia such as palpitation, shortness of breath, and tiredness. Experts suggest using supplements and injections for megaloblastic anaemia. 
  • Numbness In Limbs- A vitamin B12 deficiency starts affecting the peripheral nerves. The damage in the nerve cells causes numbness and pain in the limbs. It is one of the symptoms that you can notice. The nerve fibres that regulate movement and sensation are injured as the neuropathy advances, which can lead to "subacute associative spinal degeneration," which causes weakness in the entire body's muscles and numbness in the limbs. These nervous system symptoms may or may not occur at the same time as anaemia, are difficult to detect, and necessitate prompt diagnosis and treatment.
  • Other Symptoms: Memory impairment, depression, and anxiety are the other symptoms that show a lack of vitamin B12 in the body. Vitamin B12 deficiencies do not cause problems in the body function, but it affects mental health and boosts cognitive functions. Physical weakness, fatigue, constipation, weight loss, etc are also some vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.

Cause Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Are you wondering, exactly what causes Vitamin B12 deficiency in your body? Here are the causes of the vitamin B2 deficiency -

Insufficient Intake: When there is a lack of vitamin B12, it causes Vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. It is important to eat animals, foods or supplements regularly to keep healthy Vitamin B12 levels. Infants or breastfeeding women have the highest risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Malabsorption: It is also one of the causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. Malabsorption is a disorder when the body is unable to absorb the nutrients from the diet. Following are the reason for malabsorption in the body-

  • Excess bacterial growth in the intestine.
  • Certain diseases in the pancreas.
  • FIsh tapeworm infections.
  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome(AIDS).
  • Absence of organs that absorb the vitamin B12.
  • Excess use of antacids and metformin drugs.
  • frequent exposure to the laughing gas or nitrous oxide.
  • lack of intrinsic factor.
  • Lack of acidity in the stomach.

Insufficient Storage: Most of the vitamin B12 is stored in the Liver. When the body has liver disease or absence of liver it stops the storage process for vitamin B12 and causes the vitamin B12 deficiency in the body.

Vitamin B12 Food

Are you thinking about what you should eat to balance the vitamin B12 in the body? Here is the list that you can try. Vitamin B12 is rarely found in fruits and vegetables. It is highly available in a variety of animal foods. Here, we will introduce foods rich in vitamin B12 by dividing them into animal foods and vegetable foods. Note, that there is a limit to how much vitamin B12 can be absorbed at one time. It's been reported that if you take a lot of vitamin B12 at once, your absorption rate will slow down, so don't overdo it.

  • Animal Food Rich In Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is mostly present in animal food. Meat contains a lot of Vitamin B12. Animal liver and kidneys hold high vitamin B12. It is good to have the liver and kidneys of animals, especially lambs. Other animals are clams, beef liver, Asari, chicken, pork, egg yolk, sardines and many more. Some fishes like tuna and salmon are also rich in vitamin B12. 
  • Plant-Based Food Rich in Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is very rarely found in plants, fruits and vegetables. Types of seaweeds are the most famous plant source of vitamin B12. Among all, dried seaweed is the most suitable and rich in vitamin B12 levels. The egg is also rich in vitamin B12. Other food sources are- dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese. Fortified foods also help the body intake vitamin B12. Nori and yeast are some other vitamin B12 plant sources.

Vitamin B12 Precaution

It is good to prepare yourself with the precaution point before starting using any supplement or food. Yes, vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin. But still, you need to be aware of its precaution.

  • Before starting to use it, make sure you're not allergic to cyanocobalamin, or any other vitamin. Having natural food containing vitamin B12 does not harm you. But using vitamin B12 supplements will surely affect you.
  • Always start using the supplement after consulting with the doctor.
  • Do not overdose on the use of vitamin B12 food and supplements.
  • People who have gastritis problems and remove their stomachs should not use vitamin B12 supplements. To absorb vitamin B12, and intrinsic factor is required that is only provided by a healthy stomach. Without intrinsic factors, there is no meaning to have vitamin B12.
  • If you are suffering from Leber's disease, then it is not good to use Vitamin B12 supplements without consulting a professional.
  • Consult a doctor if you are pregnant and breastfeeding.

Vitamin B12 Diagnose

To overcome symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, it is important to test the level of vitamin B12 in the body. There are many ways to test the Vitamin B12 in the body. Below are the following.

  • Blood Test- When a normal blood test reveals large red blood cells, vitamin B12 insufficiency is frequently suspected. If you experience the classic symptoms of nerve damage, such as tingling or loss of sensation, you may be suspected. Measure the level of vitamin B12 in the blood if a deficit is detected. You can undergo a blood test to find the vitamin B12 deficiency. If the level of vitamin B12 lies between 190 and 950 picograms per millilitre (pg/mL) in your blood vessels, then it is good for you. The lower shows the deficiency of vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B12 Shilling Exam- A little amount of radioactive material labelled is ingested orally for the first time. The second injection has a greater amount of vitamin B12 that is not radioactively tagged. The amount of labelled vitamin B12 in the urine is measured after the injection to see if the body is absorbing the proper amount of vitamins. It is a test of absorption, how much vitamin B12 is absorbed by the body. If it is not absorbed properly, then it is a sign of a lack of vitamin B12.
  • Endoscopy: Endoscopy is a difficult test to check the vitamin B12 level in the body. It is a process in which a flexible tubular device with a camera goes into the body to examine the body. The lack of intrinsic factors might cause vitamin B12 deficiency. With endoscopy, the present state of cells is tested in the stomach and the level of production by the intrinsic factor.

Vitamin B12 Dosage

According to the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is as follows-

  • Men & Women: 2.2 mcg/day
  • Pregnant Women & Lactating Women: 2.5-3.5 mcg/day
  • Infants: 1.2 mcg/day
  • Children : 2.2 mcg/day

Although Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, it has since been reported that overdose causes health hazards (sensory neuropathy). The above-recommended dosage is daily intake either as a supplement or from a natural source of food. The overdose of vitamin B12 does not cure the deficiency quickly, instead, it causes side effects to the body.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) on Vitamin B12

How to get vitamin b12 naturally?

There are many natural sources rich in vitamin B12 that you can try: beef, liver, chicken, fish, seaweed, shellfish dairy products, eggs, tuna, salmon and many more. These are easily available in every corner of the world

How to increase vitamin b12?

To increase vitamin B12 in the body add supplements, plants and animals. Vitamin B12 capsules, vitamin B12 chewable tablets, fish, egg, chicken, meat, dairy products, etc are helpful to increase the vitamin B12 deficiencies in the body.

How long to recover from vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for the body. To overcome the deficiency of vitamin B12, it is recommended to intake supplements for 6-12 months for proper recovery. 6-12 months if you follow the work guidance of the professional with the correct dose without any skip.

What is the treatment for high vitamin b12?

Like having a low level of vitamin B12, a high level of vitamin B12 is not good for the body. It may cause kidney or liver problems, diabetes and types of leukaemia. It is suggested to consult a professional doctor if you consume a high dose of vitamin B12.

Which of the following drug causes vitamin b12 deficiency?

Metformin is one of the drugs that may cause vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. It is basically a drug for type 2 diabetes. People who are suffering from diabetes should talk to their doctor about the metformin dose and prevent the vitamin B12 deficiency.

What is vitamin b12 good for?

Vitamin B12 in the body is linked with many benefits. At most, it manages the red blood cells production in the body. The amount of blood in the body is needed to have a healthier life. Vitamin B12 is also good for the nerve cell system.

How much vitamin B12 should I take?

Being an adult, 2.2mcg is a recommended dose of vitamin B12. Well, it is always suggested to consult with a healthcare professional before starting using the vitamin B12 supplement or foods.

What is the normal level of vitamin b12 in the elderly?

For a normal body, the normal level of vitamin B12 is 200 pg/mL and 900 pg/mL. If it is lower or higher than that then it's a sign of consultation with the doctor.

Which food contains vitamin b12?

Meat, Fish, dairy products, eggs, seaweed, cereals, etc contain vitamin B12. You can use any of them to increase the level of vitamin B12 in the body.

Which fruit is rich in vitamin b12?

Bananas, apples, and berries are rich in vitamin B12. Well, the amount of vitamin B12 in these fruits is very low.

How to get vitamin b12?

Having Vitamin B12 foods is the traditional way to get vitamin B12. But with increasing medical science, a vitamin B12 supplement is the quickest way to normalise the vitamin B12 level in the body.

How to improve vitamin b12?

It is very essential to improve vitamin B12. To improve the vitamin B12 in the body, start eating meat, chicken, fish, egg, milk, cheese, cereals, etc. For a quick solution, using vitamin B12 supplements is also good.

What causes vitamin b12 deficiency?

When the consumption of Vitamin B12 is not enough in your diet, then it causes vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. Vitamin B12 deficiency shows several symptoms in the body, which means you need to add vitamin B12 to your diet.

Is the B12 content in bananas high?

Bananas are rich in high concentrations of VItamin B6 and VItamin B12. People can have bananas daily to fulfil the requirement of vitamin B12 in the body. Start eating a pair of bananas in the morning time for better results.

What are the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency?

Fatigue, anaemia, physical weakness, memory loss, depression, etc are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you have any symptoms from them, immediately consult the doctor and start using them. You can use fruits, vegetables, animals or supplements to overcome the vitamin B12 deficiency.

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